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Alcohol’s effects on driving ability start after just 1 drink

It is a common excuse given by drunk drivers after they cause a serious auto accident that they did not "feel" impaired. They did notice any limitations to their motor skills, senses or judgment, so they got behind the wheel.

Many of these drivers were telling the truth, in the sense that they really did not notice they were not fit to drive. But the fact is, alcohol impaired their ability to drive safely.

Even a drink or two can make driving a risky proposition. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports on its website that a blood-alcohol concentration of just .02 percent can cause loss of judgment, decline in visual function and trouble with multitasking. For many people, a single drink will cause a BAL of that level.

A BAL of .05 percent reduces your coordination and ability to steer. It also hampers your ability to track moving objects, like other vehicles on the road.

The legal limit in most states, including California, is .08 percent. At that point, your concentration, ability to control your speed, information processing and perception are all affected. Once you go beyond the legal limit, you are risking your ability to maintain your lane, brake, pay attention to driving and control your vehicle.

The best way to reduce your risk of getting into a drunk driving accident is not to drink and drive, and avoid getting into a car with a drunk driver. Beyond that, we cannot always predict which drivers on the road next to us is impaired, and may not find out until they have injured us in a crash.

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